"Transformers Universe 2.0" Starscream Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile launchers x 2, Missiles x 2

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
STARSCREAM is one of the deadliest warriors ever to emerge from the early battles of the civil war. He allied himself early on with MEGATRON, realizing that the DECEPTICON way was the easiest path to absolute power. He takes joy in destruction, his shrill laughter echoing across any battlefield over which he flies. Despite his power, he is a coward at heart, a bully more than a tyrant. He lives to lord his strength over those weaker than him, but he lives in fear of anyone stronger.

Convert this advanced conversion figure from robot to fighter-jet vehicle mode - and back again! Try launching missiles at your target! Complete with twin null-ray cannons with firing projectiles in robot mode and flip down landing gear in fighter-jet vehicle mode, this is one awesome figure for your collection.

To help bolster the deluxe assortments of "Transformers Universe", this wave contained a redeco of Classics Starscream. You can read that original review as well as the more recent Acid Storm review to see more details on the sculpt itself. Much like the Universe Prowl figure, this one is very useful since it represents a very generic looking robot that can be used for many characters. Indeed, this sculpt had already been used for the three original Seekers (Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker) and a modified version was used for Ramjet, Thrust and Dirge. It is rare when a sculpt gets this much use. The only other ones that come immediately to mind are the Spychanger sculpts based on the Generation 2 Gobots.

Vehicle Mode:
The first release of this figure as Starscream was given a deco based on a real life jet fighter. Although the modified F-15 form was true to the G1 cartoon in many ways, its deco of silver, blue and red was more of an "inspired by Starscream" rather than representing the character as he appeared in the show. This version of Starscream has been given a different color scheme that is much more reminscent of his TV show colors. This is cool on two levels. First, it is nice to get a "show accurate" color scheme for this figure as it brings the figure closer to its "source material". In addition, Hasbro generally shies away from doing any bright color schemes at all, preferring darker, more muted color schemes in the interests of keeping figures looking more realistic.

The darker, silver color used on Classics Starscream has been replaced with a very light grey color that almost looks white. The blue used on his missile launchers is dark blue however, matching up with the blue used on G1 Starscream's figure. In a nice contrast with the first iteration of this figure, the blue is actually darker than the one used on that version, but it also offers a more striking visual contrast with the light grey. This is probably the largest deviation from the animated look since the animated model used a light blue for Starscream's blue parts. You'll also find the robot feet (used as rear landing gear here) the same shade of blue. His cockpit is still translucent amber colored, which fits in with the color used on the G1 toy, though it wound up getting translated to orange in animation.

Paint details make up most of Starscream's distinguishing colors in this form. His vertical stabilizers in back are pinted dark blue, matching the ends of the missile launchers. On the sides are red patterns borderlined by silver striping. His wings have bright red and silver lines running from the center of the jet out to the edges, a pattern found on G1 Starscream (in both toy and animation forms). The front parts of the jet are painted the same bright red as the details on his wings and two purple Decepticon symbols are painted onto the middle of the wings. His nosecone is not painted, but rather matches the light grey on the rest of the figure. I really like this as it matches the character's animated appearance where his nosecone was just one solid color. The last paint deco is found on the rear thrusters, which are painted gunmetal - a color I love seeing on parts like that. It's so much nicer than a plain black color, which often gets used for such parts.

Starscream's missiles still fire just fine, but I did notice a sign of mold degradation. The missile launchers do not fit quite as snug into the holes on the wings as they used to. They're not falling off or anything, but if you press them in you can feel the difference as opposed to all the other versions of this figure I have. It is an unfortunate reality that repeated use of a mold eventually wears it down, and I think this one is getting there.

Robot Mode:
Did I say "getting there"? I meant, the sculpt is there. All one has to do is transform this figure to feel how the tool/mold is beginning to degrade severely. I noticed three main issues:

  • The missile launcher on the left arm does not hold in the hole as tightly as the right.
  • The left wrist/fist flips around easily while the right does not.
  • The legs are a bit shakey, most likely are sult of the parts not being joined tightly. The figure still stands, but if you hold the lower leg and upper body, you can jiggle the lower legs a little, something my other Classics Seekers don't do.

While the sculpt may not be in the best shape of its life, the colors chosen for this figure work very well. The blue parts from the first version of this sculpt are now dark blue. The light grey replaces the silver. On both his hands and feet this matches the look of the G1 animation model. It's also cool to see the Decepticon symbols on his wings wind up upside down, the same way they did in his animated appearance. One interesting paint application is on the head. While the previous version of this figure had the "helmet" portion of the head painted black and the eyes red, the face was left alone. Here it is painted the same gunmetal color as the thrusters in vehicle mode. The problem I have is that the paint job on the "helmet" portion of the head is supremely sloppy. I mean, seriously shockingly so. If you look at Classics Starscream in robot mode, the black on the helmet section is very clean and painted over the sides. However, on this one the sides have been left light grey but the black paint lines don't cleanly end, but instead spill over into the light grey. I'm just a bit shocked at this level of sloppiness. It's very unlike the factories and it makes me wonder if recent closings of factories in China have caused quality control issues in the remaining ones.

Final Thoughts:
I really like the color scheme of this figure. It represents the G1 toy and animated model in a unique amalgamation. However, the quality issues on this sculpt cannot be ignored, especially if you're going to spend about $10-13 on it. I acknowledge there's a chance these issues may just be with my particular Starscream figure, but I would proceed with caution. Based on my own experience however, I'd say only pick this up if you can't get your hands on Classics Starscream.

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